Sunday, October 31, 2010

My apologies to the person (iz) who tried to post a comment/question: What do you mean under the FAQs "How did you feel when you finished?" when you answered, "Overwhelmed by the complexity of life". I moved that whole post to become a separate page and lost the comment. But this is probably important enough to make a whole post about.
So here goes: When I returned, I had been on the road for almost 3 months. For 3 months, there was no real schedule, no commitments, no appointments and very few choices. I carried 3 sets of clothes: two cycling outfits and one for civilization. If one cycling outfit was dirty, there was only one choice. In a grocery store, there were not too many choices. Frozen foods were totally out, anything which required an oven was out, meat was out and extremely perishable foods were only choices if they would be eaten quickly.
When I got home, I had a closet/dresser full of clothes from which I could not decide. The morning after I got home, I went to work for a half day. Opening the closet reduced me to an idiot, who stood trying to make a decision. It took me 15 minutes. The total amount of "stuff" in my house was unnerving. I wanted to get rid of everything. That morning, since the only thing I had in my panniers was a bag of dried apricots, that was breakfast. It did not even occur to me to look in the cupboards, even less the fridge.
I couldn't even go out with my friends I was so overwhelmed by the decisions which needed to be made and the tasks which needed to be accomplished. Simple things, like cleaning and making dinner or having the tires rotated on my car (yes, I actually have one) were like life altering decisions. As funny as it sounds, it was quite serious. Thinking I was just bizarre, I spoke with others who have left home for extended periods of time, such as Peace Corps volunteers and other cycling tourists. They had all experienced the same phenomenon.
Did I recover? Now back 2 months, I still haven't fully recovered. I am restless and have purged my house of many of my possessions. I go out on long day rides. I long for the next tour expectantly. I have made attempts to simplify. Not all negative.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Funding for improved bike trails and lanes is covered under the Federal Highway Trust Fund. AAA Mid-Atlantic has asked Congress to remove the allocation for funding geared towards these improvements, even though out of 89 Billion, only 1 billion is earmarked for improvements for pedestrians and cyclists. I would encourage people to sign the petition to AAA to censor their Mid-Atlantic branch in its attempts to press on with this endeavor. The Rails to Trails organization has done a great job of gathering the facts and accurately quoting details from the controversy.